What were the repercussions of President Kennedy and his Executive Committees decisions made during the Cuban Missile Crisis?
A. Plan of the Investigation
This investigation will be an evaluation of President Kennedy’s Executive Committee and the repercussions of the decisions made during the thirteen days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Tape recordings and files had been deemed classified, but these files are now released and the decisions made by the government can be assessed to the fullest extent. This can produce major implications regarding the relationship between what was then the Soviet Union and the United States. The public was kept in the dark about several courses of action, including the removal of American missiles and many other surprising judgment calls that may be a cause of international security between the two country’s today.
A frequently used source is The Kennedy Tapes by Ernest R. May and Philip D. Zelikow as well as others. This book in particular delves into the tape recordings during those thirteen days between President Kennedy and his advisory committee, revealing information that could provide insight into what really happened in October, 1962.
B Summary of Evidence
President Kennedy was informed at 9.00 AM on Tuesday, October 16, 1962 that the Soviet Union had placed nuclear missiles in Sierra del Rosario, Cuba. This confirmation was made by an authorized U-2 flight over the area on October 14. Kennedy was immediately briefed by CIA director Marshall Carter who explained what the missiles meant and how it affected the United States. By this time, Kennedy had created a council, now referred to as his Executive Committee or ExComm. Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara and Secretary of State, Dean Rusk were among the first of the ExComm to respond with possible courses of action. Rusk, by stating that “I don’t think we can sit still,” (May, 54) gave the President two very descriptive courses of action. The first was a major air strike. McNamara and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Maxwell Taylor as well as a majority of the ExComm agreed with this action. Rusk also pointed out another option, which was to inform the OAS of a treaty violation and inform the Cuban government.
Over the course of the next ten days, Kennedy’s ExComm would weigh the options between four possible courses of action. Following Rusk’s evaluation of an air strike and McNamara’s opinions on getting the OAS involved, blockading Cuba, which just happened to be favored by Kennedy, or finally, a consultation with Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev. Also weighing the options was President Kennedy’s brother, Robert Kennedy. Like his brother, Robert did not favor an air strike that was sure to kill civilians. President Kennedy was furthermore concerned with a consultation with Khrushchev as it could enhance the turmoil. Because of this, at 11:30 AM on October 22, Kennedy and his ExComm met again for a crucial decision. The first was...